New York’s Queens Borough has been touted as “one of the most diverse places on earth” and hankering to see how this staggering mix of 1 million immigrants gets on was at the top of my agenda today. The faces in the subway slowly changed from fairer Manhattanites to resembe the color of the global average and the buzz of different dialects further evidenced the claim of the 138 different languages spoken within the area.
I ate lunch at Korean BBQ place, bordered by a Fillipino market and Bangladeshi deli, across the street from a Mexican Cantina and Japanese hair salon. I resisted the urge to stop at the “Rincon de Chuzo” (Kebab Corner) but smiled as I had found a cluster of Colombian and Ecuadorian restaurants. I could go on for days pointing out the differences between New York and Los Angeles but instead I’ll pose a hypothesis brought about by my walk through Jackson Heights: LA is more segregated due to geographic layouts of neighborhoods and their relative proximity to each other; meaning that LA’s Koreatown is fairly isolated from say, a Latino neighborhood in La Puente. NY’s limiting of urban sprawl (due to geographic reasons) has placed people from different backgrounds on top of each other, comprising diverse neighborhoods such as Queens. In any case, my day in Queens was a lovely venture into one of the world’s most diverse areas that showed me how immigrants from different backgrounds can form a collective community.